Monday, 3 March 2014

Reviewing the Chaos Demons Codex, Part 1B: Rewards, Psychic Powers and warlord traits.

Preface

Hi guys, I'm returning to do part 1B of my review of the Daemons Codex. In this section I will cover the rewards that you roll for each game, as well as the psychic powers your daemons can roll on. After this, I'll be reviewing the HQ section of the codex, starting with the Greater Daemons and Daemon Princes, and then another section for the heralds. 

Rewards 

I think most players have to admit that rewards are the most fun of the Daemons Codex. You get 6 or seven surprises every time you play, and they make sure no game is the same in a way that your lord of unreality warlord trait would never allow. I'll give you some perspective in admitting I've never run a Greater Daemon besides Fateweaver and the bloodthirster, so I don't know a great deal of the rules and how they will affect other units in the codex. I'll endeavour to do this as effectively as I can nonetheless. 

Lesser 

Lesser Rewards themselves tend to be underwhelming. While all of them can be useful in the right situation, none of them are expressly brilliant. 

0. I lied a little. This is why the others suck, especially for Khorne Daemons. The Etherblade is this awesome AP2 weapon that you can get for less than a power sword. Who wouldn't want this?

The Axe of Khorne is Identical to the Etherblade (the generic AP2 weapon all rewards give access to.) except that any roll of a 6 - a precision shot - also causes instant death. Very useful against razorwing flock and such. 

For Nurgle, they gain the Plagueflail. As it has no AP it's not very useful against the majority of targets, especially considering that it also lacks the poisoned special rule. If you get lucky and cause a wound, you have a toughness tests chance of causing two. Could be useful on a great unclean one?

For Slaanesh we get the witstealer sword. Like the nurgle sword in terms of its special rule (initiative instead of toughness.) the weapon also gives rending and AP5, meaning it can be useful against gribbleys and against multi-wounds without an invulnerable save. Still, you'll probably do more to your enemy with an etherblade. This could be very useful on a Keeper of Secrets, who doesn't benefit from the etherblade.

For Tzeench, we have the boomstick. every unit within D6" takes D6 S5 hits. This could be very useful on a lord of change, giving him S8AP2 (monster) attacks that then cause a few more hits on the target's friends. 

1. D3 S4AP5 hits when a wound is taken. These could be useful if you charge your one herald of khorne into a unit of orks or nids, as the extra wounds could swing the combat in your favour. I'd go with the etherblade or one of the special weapons instead - if your opponent has nothing that an AP2 weapon would benefit you for, then it might be worth keeping it.
Diamond Armour Won't protect you against a cleaving strike.
Sorry Steve.

2. Rolls of 6's are S10. If you're going up against an army that lacks T6 or better, this is basically the Axe of Khorne +. You still need to find a way to get AP2 though. If you're going up against a monster-heavy army, try to get the Axe of Khorne instead.

3. S5AP5 flamer with armourbane could be useful against certain armies, but only if those armies don't have good enough armour to make the etherblade worthwhile (Guard).

4. Adamantium Will: Useless to khorne most of the time, take an axe of khorne instead. I'm not sure how useful it is to the other armies.

5. S8AP4 shot with soul blaze Useful if your army lacks any meaningful shooting. Dangerous against AV10/11 tanks.

6. +1 to Reserve Rolls It will be useful if your army relies on reserves, so you can make that call yourself.

Verdict: Unless your army really needs one of these rolls, you usually just get the CCW. 

Greater 

Greater Rewards tend to come in two varieties: Survivable and Offensive traits, with the two offensive traits being generally useful and only one of the survivable traits being annoying, and even then only if your unit will be the grimoire unit, or if you already bought what it offers. 

0. The Standard Greater Etherblade is a 20-point power axe without the Unwieldly special rule. Reasonable on a herald of khorne, gives you S6 attacks, where it gives you a steady ability to instant death the majority of your targets. Of course, AP2 can be useful anywhere in your army, so this one is always a good take.

The Khorne Blade of Blood is tricksy. Khorne specialises in definitively powerful attacks, and this one isn't up this alley. It slows your user down to I1 for D3 attack ASSUMING your target is larger in terms of model count than your own. where this tool could be used is on the Bloodthirster - He's always a smaller unit than his target, meaning he always gets the D3 attacks, and he isn't affected by Unwieldly (Note: I might be confusing this with walkers who definitely aren't affected by unwieldly. if I'm wrong, point it out to me please.) having 12 attacks at WS10, S7 and I9 on the charge (Rampage, Rage, 2 CCW - he already has an axe of khorne.) basically ensures you kill 7 of your target most of the time.

Nurgle Gives the Balesword, which is literally a plaguesword (6's glance any vehicle, 4+ poison) with instant death. Frustrating and not very useful, given that nothing worth instant-killing has a bad enough armour save to make its rule worthwhile. Might be useful on a great unclean one, who would get a re-rollable 2+ to wound and would cause instant death at AP2.

Slaanesh is interesting. Of the two reward groups that give a weapon as the reward default, the lash of despair is the only shooting weapon. Lash of despair is user's Strength with 2D6 shots. This is extremely useful on a daemon prince as the daemon prince can suddenly shoot enemy flyers. He should do 7 attacks at S6 and BS5, meaning he should get 6 hits and thus, one HP against AV12, 2 HP against AV11 and 3 against AV10 (so, two against a heldrake.) couple this with vector strike and you have an anti-flyer monster.

The Tzeench Mutating warpblade suffers from AP3 syndrome. On a herald, it might be worth taking if your army is not sporting any 2+ saves. If he isn't, or you're taking this beauty on a lord of change, enjoy turning your enemies into spawn. A fun weapon, much like the boomstick.

1. +1 W and IWND. This one's nice if your target is either eternal or T5/6. IT basically ensures that he can come back from two wounds per game, and that he shouldn't be first blood if he's an FMC.

2. 4+ FNP. This one's nice on any character with T4, 5 or 6. It basically increases the number of wounds they can ignore by 50%, making them a good tank. Couple this with either +1W/IWND or re-roll invulnerable saves on a bloodthirster and you have a unit that simply will not die.

3. Re-roll Invulnerable saves. I'm not going to sing the praises of increasing a wound-ignore chance from 33% to 55%.

4. 18" S8AP1 lance. Nice extra bit of shooting. Useful in armies that can't touch flyers or FMC, as well as armour heavy armies.

5. Armourbane/Fleshbane. Not useful on most greater daemons, unless there's a lot of armour on the field. Put this on an Axe of Khorne Herald and watch him OHKO any monster or character without the eternal warrior special rule.

6. 3+ armour save. Seems weird, and it's annoyingly useless on DP or blood thirsters, but this one is excellent on tanking heralds. Having a 100% increase in damage reduction over their 5+ against small arms fire is excellent.

 Verdict: Whether or not you default to the greater etherblade depends on your opponent. if they lack the saves to make AP2 worthwhile, don't bother - most of these powers are quite useful

Exalted 

Exalted rewards are usually just paid for to get the grimoire of true names. (the 3++ thing.), but the rules they can give are actually pretty useful on greater demons, or on your heralds.

0. Grimoire of True names. +2 to invulnerable saves, a must take on a death star, not so useful if your army doesn't revolve around one smash-face unit. 

Portaglyph:
Useful for getting small scoring troops onto the field. Only deploy/use once you've secured first blood, but after that it's very useful in scoring missions. As an obvious note, don't take this one in kill points. 

Gloryseeker Blade: 
If you already have a Grimoire and Portaglyph, or are playing KP, you can consider the Gloryseeker blade. It's useless on heralds, but on a Greater demon, it gives +D3 WS, I and A. This is basically rampage without the limitations for a bloodthirster, on any of the other FMC it can increase their combat ability considerably. 

Doomstone:
-D6 LD to all characters involved in your combat. Very useful at removing the LD bonuses of squad leaders/captains, and it can remove those models from combat by being reduced to 0 LD - excellent for tough kills, but only if you manage to roll winds of chaos 4 times on the exalted reward table. 

1. Re-roll, roll on lesser reward. Free 10 point upgrade. Can you complain? Could get you a free axe of khorne/etherblade on your grimoire dude, so always roll for it. 

2. Roll 2D6 and add 1 for every 3 models your bearer removed as a casualty that turn in close combat, if the total is above 9 you get 2D6+3 daemons of your choice. (a free 12 on the warpstorm table, or a free portaglyph. Very cool in objectives missions.)

3. Kill a model, roll a D6. anything but a 1 gives you a free wound. Put this bad boy on a blood thirster of khorne with FNP and watch your opponent cry. 

4. Rage/Rampage. Nice on a non-khorne character, like a keeper of secrets. I'd probably swap out for a gloryseeker blade on an MC, but keep it on a herald. 

5. IF your model is removed as a casualty, returns as if in ongoing reserves with 1 wound. Put this on your warlord, or any dude with +1 W and IWND. 

6. Something about a blast. Move along.

Psychic Powers 

Change 

Change is given to this rule called Warp flame. While it can potentially do some harm, more often than not it helps your opponent by giving them a 6+ FNP. For this reason, it is important to choose your targets wisely: shooting at your enemy's infantry can backfire if you don't commit fully to the action. 

Primaris
24" Heavy bolter with D6+WD6 shots, where W is the number of warp charge you use to cast this psychic power. 

Very deadly on a lord of change against the right targets. Don't put up prescience with this - you're more likely to hit more times with an extra D6 shots than with re-rolls to hit. Very annoying when used in conjunction with a vector strike, can decimate an entire squad of saves worse than 3+. 

D3:1 24" SD6+1 AP- small blast
Basically a S4AP- small blast that gives your opponent a bonus to saving against damage. Pass.

D3:2 24" D6+4AP2 beam 
Can be a very powerful anti-medium infantry weapon. Can be turned against tanks, albeit unreliably. Usually kills outright if your enemy is in blast formations. 

D3:3 18" D6+4 AP1 small blast
A free plasma cannon with AP1 that might give your opponent FNP6+ instead of hurting the user.

Plague 

Primaris 
Flamer with AP3 and poisoned 4+. 

Would be an excellent power if great unclean ones had wings and could get close enough to actually use it. Still, it could be useful soon if you ru- nevermind.

D3:1 12" AP2 blast with poison 4+. 

Nice little weapon against marines. Basically smite but a blast. 

D3:2 Reduces enemy WS and initiative, but is cast as a blessing, which is cool.

Very contextual, but if it comes up it may just save your unit's life. 

D3:3 Haemorrhage on steroids.

It's still haemorrhage. 

Excess 

Primaris
24" S6AP- beam with rending

Assail with rending. Pass. 

D3:1 
Maledicton, target has -5 initiative and can't use counterattack or overwatch. Could be very useful for making sure slaaneshi daemons don't die as quickly as they might otherwise.

D3:2 Haemorrhage using leadership, focussed witchfire.

Basically haemorrhage but against leadership. Still kinda useless against LD7 or better, but could be very powerful for taking down units of conscripts or of gants/the like. 

D3:3 The above on steroids, Also causes pinning

In reality, this is basically daemonic instability on your opponent, and then you pin them. 

Warlord Traits

Daemons will always roll on daemonic warlord traits, for the hope of getting a '5'. The good news is, pretty much every one of them is decent anyway, so even if you don't get lord of unreality you should be sitting pretty.


Warlord

Death Incarnate
Warlord's melee weapons now cause instant death. This ones' interesting, really. Firstly, the rules conundrum. If my warlord is a herald of slaanesh, who does not have a weapon (she doesn't need one) or indeed any greater daemon besides the khorne or nurgle variety, actually benefit from this trait? If it were just melee attacks, it'd be fine. From a game point of view, very useful on everything that doesn't want an axe of khorne anyway. can be great if you need an easy point-click dead monster hunter.

Destroyer of Mortals 
Would really suck to get this as khorne if your warlord already has the loci that gives hatred. Could make it worthwhile sticking your herald in a different squad to the one with the hatred loci, it could also be useful if said loci were to perish.

Herald of Doom.
This one's nice against the great majority of armies that don't have fearless or ATSKNF. So, Eldar, Guard and tau, none of whom are stellar in close combat anyway. Pass.

And though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for I am evil incarnate - C.S. Goto extends his works to other
Immortal Commander
re-roll daemonic instability tests, could be useful in the right situation, could be throwaway in the wrong ones. Might save you if you rolled a 2 on the warp storm table.

Lord of unreality 
this is the big kahuna. Re-roll your warp storm table. This is huge as it reduces your chance of rolling any bad warp storm to nearly 1/36 - your equivalent chance of rolling a '2' on 2D6. this also means that there is a minute chance of rolling a 2 now - less than 1%, which could save you in a lot of situations. You might even re-roll well!

It's important not to get greedy with this one. Don't play tricks, re-rolling mediocre results in the hope of rolling high - if you then roll a 2, 3, 4 or the 5/6/8/9 result that hurts you, don't complain to me.

Warp Beacon 
Your warlord lets people deepstrike within 6" without scattering. Kinda useful in the right situation, I guess?